Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/95

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81
A BIRTHPLACE OF FREEDOM.

profits showed that the company was making over £1,000 per day." The total quantity of gold raised from this mine—a mine possessing the strange history thus summarily reviewed—has exceeded in value £4,000,000 sterling. It is no small compliment to the Irishmen of Ballarat that they formed the backbone of this great pioneer deep-sinking company, that they manfully continued the work when the faint-hearted fell away, that disaster following disaster only excited them to renewed exertion, and that after ten years' unflagging toil they reaped the reward of their extraordinary activity, and established fortunes for themselves and their families.

The Ballarat of to-day is one of the finest inland cities of Australia. Its main artery, Sturt Street, is admittedly one of the noblest thoroughfares in the Southern Hemisphere, being unusually wide and beautified by trees for nearly the whole of its length. Prominent amongst the many striking buildings that line this lengthy and lovely street, are the City Hall with its lofty tower, and St. Patrick's Cathedral, a splendid and capacious edifice that does credit to the Irish Catholics of the Golden City. Ballarat, formerly a deanery in the diocese of Melbourne, was, in 1874, erected into a separate bishopric. Its first prelate was the Right Rev. Dr. O'Connor, who at the time of his appointment was parish priest of Rathfarnham, Dublin. Bishop O'Connor was enthusiastically welcomed on his arrival, and very soon the enthusiasm of his people was manifested in a more practical form by the erection, at a cost of £10,000, of the handsome Bishop's Palace that now ornaments the margin of Lake Wendouree, in Ballarat West. Dr. O'Connor travelled through every part of his extensive diocese, and made himself personally conversant with the needs and requirements of